Adolf von Harnack

Historian, Author

1851 – 1930

92

Who was Adolf von Harnack?

Carl Gustav Adolf von Harnack was a German Lutheran theologian and prominent church historian. He produced many religious publications from 1873 to 1912.

Harnack traced the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on early Christian writing and called on Christians to question the authenticity of doctrines that arose in the early Christian church. He rejected the historicity of the gospel of John in favor of the synoptic gospels, criticized the Apostles' Creed, and promoted the Social Gospel.

In the 19th century, higher criticism flourished in Germany, establishing the historical-critical method as an academic standard for interpreting the Bible and understanding the historical Jesus. Harnack's work is part of a reaction to Tübingen, and represents a reappraisal of tradition.

Besides his theological activities, Harnack was a distinguished organizer of sciences. He played an important role in the foundation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft and became its first president.

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Born
May 7, 1851
Tartu
Also known as
  • Adolf Harnack
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • Germany
Profession
Education
  • University of Leipzig
  • University of Tartu
Lived in
  • Erlangen
    (1853 - 1866)
  • Tartu
    (1851 - 1853)
  • Tartu
    (1866 - 1872/10)
  • Leipzig
    (1872/10 - 1879/03)
  • Giessen
    (1879/03 - 1886/10)
  • Marburg
    (1886/10 - 1888/10)
  • Berlin
    (1888/10 - 1930/05)
  • Livonia
Died
Jun 10, 1930
Heidelberg

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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